Sunday, January 5, 2020

Museum Sunday: The Royal Family's Prayer Book

Museum Sunday: a day for highlighting objects, books, and other items from the collections and lives of Marie Antoinette and her contemporaries.

The above book, which was auctioned in 2017, is a prayer book from the collection of Marie Antoinette, which accompanied her and the royal family to the Temple after their imprisonment. According to one of the previous owners, who gifted it to the comte de Chambord, the book’s spine was prone to opening on pages 138, 310, and 364; meaning, these were pages that Marie Antoinette and the royal family frequently returned to during their captivity.

The book has been kept closed for preservation for more than 150 years and has almost entirely lost this feature, but upon inspection for the auction, it was discovered that it still opens to page 310, which includes the passage: 

“Scarcely is he [Jesus] raised to the sight of all these people, that he is insulted, and charged on all sides with curses and reproaches. In the end, he makes one last effort to raise his eyes to Heaven: My Father, he exclaims, forgive them, I pray you, because they know not what they do.”

One can easily imagine the royal family finding meaning and comfort from this particular passage. 

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